My introduction to the humble peach was dredged in sickly corn syrup and cut in perfectly smooth halves. The canned variety was always in reach, always in season, always available for cheap in the grocery store. Fresh fruits were hard to keep in my house when I was younger. My brothers and I refused to eat anything not tooth-achingly sweet and brightly packaged, to the chagrin of my mother.
I can happily report that those habits are long gone. As you could guess from my previous posts, my refrigerator has been well stocked with all sorts of summer fruits: blueberries, strawberries, nectarines, and of course, peaches.
My mum had been wanting to eat cobbler for some time now. Any fruit cobbler we order at a restaurant or buy at a supermarket has never met her expectations. It is always too sweet, too much crust, too much topping. My family doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth; we were never the type to have cakes or cookies around in the house. I wouldn’t say that I personally don’t have a sweet tooth, but rather, it’s just pickier than most folks’.
So this is my ‘healthy, not-too-sweet’ peach cobbler. The amount of sugar you toss in with the peaches will depend on their ripeness. Using ripe peaches? Feel free to cut it down to a mere ½ cup. Are your peaches kinda firm? Use the full ¾ cup. I like to use as little sugar as possible to allow for the natural sweetness of the peaches to come out (and a little tartness is okay). I am certain you could use honey as your sweetener as well, in even lesser amounts.
Why whole wheat flour? For this particular cobbler, it’s because I ran out of all-purpose flour and I felt too lazy to make the two minute drive to the store. This is a common trope in my recipes: I always find a way to sneak in whole wheat flour. It adds fiber and is a bit more nutty smelling than regular all-purpose, but will soak up more of the liquids present. Also, I’ve accumulated a large amount of whole wheat flour in my cupboards (it turns out my mum had a full bag at home and I brought two more bags from college).
If you are curious and would like to start adding in some whole wheat in your recipes, definitely experiment! There are certain recipes where it will work better. Start with things that are more forgiving (say, bread or chocolate chip cookies) and substitute out a quarter of the all-purpose flour that is needed. I like to go half-half with my flours for most recipes, since whole wheat flour has a drying effect if you aren’t careful with the amount used.
Whole Wheat Peach Cobbler
Adapted from Food Network
Feeds 5-6 people with generous helpings
4 cups sliced fresh peaches, peeled or unpeeled (this is about seven peaches)
½-3/4 cup brown sugar*
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour**
Juice from ½ lemon (or about 1 tbsp lemon juice)
1 cup whole wheat flour**, plus additional as needed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup buttermilk (or ⅔ cup milk minus a tablespoon, plus a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar)
*Depends on how ripe your peaches are and how sweet you would like it to be. Unsure? Go ahead and use ¾ cup.
**All-purpose flour is perfectly fine here as well. The cobbler crust will be lighter in color.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Generously butter a 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish. In a large bowl, toss the peaches with the lemon juice, and then with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon flour. Transfer the peaches to the baking dish and spread evenly. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
Meanwhile, combine all dry ingredients for the cobbler crust in another bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers, until the texture resembles coarse crumbs with butter pieces no bigger than peas. Add the buttermilk and stir to form a soft dough.
Remove fruit from oven and drop rounded spoonfuls of dough on top. You may want to place the baking dish on a cookie sheet, just in case the fruit bubbles over the rim. Bake until fruit is bubbly and crust topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
These two combine..
…to achieve this beauty!